My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
How often have you heard the following phrases coupled with most horrific, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse?
It's only your fault. You made me do it.
Or, look what you made me do.
Abusers have alloplastic defenses and external locus of control.
Related into proper English, this means that they tend to blame others for their misfortunes, mistakes, and misconduct.
Abusers believe that the world is a hostile place out to get them, and that there is little they can do to mitigate and ameliorate their failures and defeats.
Their acts and choices are brought on by other people's malevolence, negligence, and stupidity.
Abusers regard themselves, therefore, as eternal victims.
The problem starts when the true victims, often the abusers' so-called nearest and dearest, adopt the abusers' point of view and begin to feel guilty and responsible for the abusers' reprehensible behaviors.
This folie deux, laterally in French, madness into some. This shared psychosis is very common.
Victims and abusers form symbolic diets, they abrogate reality, they give up on it, and they share the same delusions.
The abuser and his victim allocate roles. The victim triggers the abuse and deserves it. The abuser is merely a hapless tool devoid of volition and with an absent impulse control.
But why would anyone succumb to such a patently fallacious view of the world? Why would anyone, any victim, assume the guilt for her own torture and maltreatment?
Shared psychosis is a complex phenomenon with numerous psychodynamic roots.
Some victims fear abandonment and would do anything to placate their abusive intimate partners. Other victims grew up in dysfunctional families and they are familiar and comfortable with abuse. Abuse is their comfort zone.
Some victims are simply masochistic. They like the pain inflicted on them. Other victims want to make the relationship work at any cost to themselves.
Fear plays a big part too. Sometimes the only way not to provoke another onslaught of abuse is by playing by the abuser's rules.
So what can you do about it?
Start by realizing a few crucial facts.
And these are facts supported by reams of research and mountain ranges of court decisions.
The victim, not the perpetrator. These should be your mantras.
Your abuser does not love you.
Abuse and love are antonyms. Abuse is never a form of expressing love.
Next, try to figure out why you have acquiesced to your abuser's behavior. Are you anxious that he may abandon you if you stand up for yourself? Are you scared that the abuse may escalate if you resist him? Do you feel helpless? Have you always felt helpless? Or is this learned helplessness encouraged by the abuser in medications?
Are you truly alone? Or do you have supportive friends and family? What about the authorities? Do you trust them to protect you? And if not, why not do you have a bad experience with them?
Analyze a relationship. Can you reframe your roles? Are you sufficiently strong to put a stop to the abuse by opposing conditions, imposing sanctions and acting on infringements?
Is couple therapy an option?
If you have answered no to any of these three questions, you are better off without your abuser.
Start looking for a way out. Plan the getaway in detail. Share your intentions with friends, family and trusted co-workers. Then act on your plan.
Remember, the world never comes to an end when relationships do.
But abuse can, very often does, become deadly.